Team Elements – Truth: Summary

by Ron Potter

Over the last several blog posts we’ve been on a TREC to discover the elements of highly effective and happy teams. The reason I use the word “happy” here is because this is the highest level of Aristotle’s four levels of Happiness. Being a part of a highly effective team will provide some of your greatest moments of happiness.

TREC comes from:

  • Truth
  • Respect
  • Elegance
  • Commitment

The acronym TREC sounds the same as the word TREK. The definition of a TREK is “A trip or movement especially when involving difficulties or complex organization: an arduous journey.”

Building a great team in a complex organization during difficult times is an arduous journey.

We have spent several posts unpacking our understanding of the complex issues of Truth. Highly effective teams can share the “truth,” but the concept of truth can become very complex.

There are three concepts that must be understood to share the “truth.”

To get at the truth, a team must TAP into the underlying issues:

  • Trust
  • Assumptions
  • Perceptions


Building trust is part of the long, arduous journey. It requires humility, development, focus, commitment, compassion, integrity, peacemaking and endurance.

Without these elements in place with each member of the team, you’ll never be able to build the trust required to tell the truth to each other. You must talk about these elements. You must hold each other accountable. It’s the first step required to make it through an arduous journey of building great teams.


The second step in TAPPING into the underlying issues of building a great team based on Truth is Beliefs and Assumptions. A team at MIT developed the concept of Triple Loop Learning. Unless you start with understand everyone’s beliefs and assumptions, you can’t provide useful systems, processes, procedures, policies, to guide and direct complex organizations on their arduous journey. Beliefs and Assumptions will always win the day over systems. They’ll win the day either overtly or covertly. And usually, the covert path is the chosen. Therefore, if your systems, processes, procedures, policies don’t seem to be solving your problems, you haven’t brought all the Beliefs and Assumptions to the surface. They are covertly sabotaging your efforts.


We each have different perceptions. Perceptions are modified by events and experiences over time. If you, as a team leader or a team member assume that you have the “truth” and don’t realize that you have one of many perceptions, just like everyone else, an effective team will never materialize. Just like Beliefs and Assumptions, you must honor and respect everyone’s perspectives as valid before you can get at the Team Truth that is required to build great teams.

TAP into Greatness

To experience the sweetness of wonderful maple syrup, you must TAP into the trunk of the tree. Oak trees have deep TAP roots to withstand the ravages of nature. Whatever analogy you want to use, you must TAP into the core of your team to build the foundation of Truth.

  • Trust
  • Assumptions
  • Perceptions

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